Best of our wild blogs: 25 Feb 18

Morning Walk At Punggol Promenade Nature Walk (24 Feb 2018)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Seasonal Butterfly Appearances
Butterflies of Singapore

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Singapore must ensure adequate supply of water to meet growing needs 'by the 2050s'

Today Online 24 Feb 18;

SINGAPORE — The Republic must make sure it has an adequate supply of water to meet the growing needs of households and industries by the 2050s, before the expiry of the second water agreement with Malaysia, Minister in Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing said on Saturday (Feb 24).

Mr Chan was speaking at a Chinese New Year dinner for the Tanjong Pagar and Radin Mas constituencies, where he laid out the Government's long-term investments in infrastructure among other things.

Apart from major projects in the pipeline previously announced – such as the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR), the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rail Transit System (RTS) Link and the Tuas mega port for example – Mr Chan also revealed that beyond the 2050s, Singapore will be "in full swing to redevelop the next generation of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats".

This will ensure that every public housing estate is a "microcosm of Singapore with diverse age profiles and flat types to cater to the evolving needs of Singaporeans", he said. "We will overcome the current situation where we have an age gradient in our towns; from Tanjong Pagar on average, having the oldest flats; to Punggol in the north having the newest," he added.

The Government has previously said the country aims to be self-sufficient in water by 2060, and the issue has been described by national leaders as a strategic priority.

Stressing the need to be prepared, Mr Chan – who is among the front runners to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he steps down – said: "This is why we are building the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) Phase 2 to recycle as much water as we can, and we will continue to explore collecting every drop of water that falls on Singapore soil," Mr Chan said.

Construction work for the second stage of the DTSS began last November. Estimated to cost S$6.5 billion, the work comprises the creation of a 100km underground "superhighway" to transport used water to water reclamation plants.

This will serve the western part of Singapore, including the downtown area and upcoming major developments such as Tengah Town and Jurong Lake District. When completed in 2025, the system allows 83ha of land to be freed up.

Mr Chan stressed that the Government is not making plans "just for the next few years in the short-term". "Instead, we have exciting plans for the next few decades," he said.

The HSR project is expected to be completed in the 2020s, along with the Johor-Singapore RTS Link and the Cross Island Line, he noted.

In the 2030s, the Paya Lebar Airbase will be relocated to Changi and Tengah, which in turn frees up the airspace restriction on the development of the entire eastern Singapore. The new Changi Airport Terminal 5 will also be up and running,and Singapore can think about redeveloping Terminals 1, 2 and 3 after which The Punggol Digital District and Tengah New Town will be completed as well.

Come the 2040s, the Tanjong Pagar and Pasir Panjang ports will be moved to the Tuas mega port, with operations being integrated. "Our status as air and sea hubs has enabled us to generate at least 10 per cent of our gross domestic product directly, creating many good jobs for Singaporeans. This is over and beyond the indirect benefits that our airport and sea port bring to the rest of the economy," Mr Chan said.

Further over the horizon, the Government is building "for the next 100 years" with investments in an underground electricity distribution network to "replace the ageing electricity network left to us by the British. Even as we speak now, we are reclaiming land to make sure that our reclamation can withstand the effects of global warming and the related rise in sea levels", he added.

"All these are plans for our future generations of Singaporeans," Mr Chan reiterated. "It is a testimony to our determination as a nation to continue to defy the odds of history to stay as an independent, sovereign and thriving country that will make Singaporeans proud to call home and welcome foreigners who wish to partner us."

Singapore must ensure adequate water supply to meet growing needs by 2050s: Chan Chun Sing
Channel NewsAsia 24 Feb 18;

SINGAPORE: Singapore must ensure it has an adequate supply of water for households and industries by the 2050s, before the water agreement with Malaysia expires in 2061, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing on Saturday (Feb 24).

“This is why we are building the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System Phase 2 to recycle as much water as we can, and we will continue to explore collecting every drop of water that falls on Singapore soil,” he added.

The deep tunnel sewerage system is the nation’s way of collecting and transporting used water from across Singapore to three water reclamation plants - Changi, Kranji and Tuas – for treatment.

The water is then purified to become NEWater, or discharged into the sea.

Under national water agency PUB’s masterplan, NEWater and desalination will meet 85 per cent of Singapore’s water demand by 2060. That is also when the total water demand is expected to double.

The water issue was among the infrastructural plans Mr Chan touched on during his speech at the annual Chinese New Year dinner attended by grassroots advisers and residents of Tanjong Pagar and Radin Mas constituencies.

He stressed that Singapore must continue to invest in infrastructure to make the country attractive for companies and create “good jobs for our people”.

“We are building for the next 100 years with investments in an underground electricity distribution network to replace the ageing network left to us by the British … (We are) making sure that our land reclamation can withstand global warming and the predicted rise in sea levels,” he said.

The minister cited developments such as the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail in the 2020s; Changi Airport Terminal 5 which is expected to be completed around 2030; the Tuas mega port which is scheduled for completion in 2040; and the need to have an adequate supply of water by the 2050s.

“Beyond the 2050s, we will be in full swing to redevelop the next generation of HDB flats and towns to ensure that every HDB estate is a microcosm of Singapore, with diverse age profiles and flat types to cater to the evolving needs of Singaporeans,” said Mr Chan.

“We will overcome the current situation where we have an age gradient in our towns - from Tanjong Pagar on average, having the oldest flats, to Punggol having the newest.”

On investment in education, Mr Chan said it must continue to be “the linchpin” in Singapore’s economic strategy, stressing the need for lifelong learning and early childhood education.

Nearly a week after Budget 2018 was announced, he also reiterated why the use of Singapore’s reserves should not be taken lightly, drawing a link between the reserves and the strength of the currency.

Concluding, Mr Chan said Singapore has strong fundamentals but the country must continue to maintain its edge.

“The next lap of our economic growth story will depend more than ever on our ability to innovate and tap the global markets for our growth,” he said.

“So long as we stay united, be clear eyed about our challenges, and face them squarely together, there is absolutely no reason why we cannot celebrate SG100 with even greater pride and confidence.”

Source: CNA/gs

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Singapore still lags in global urban farming push

Walter Sim Straits Times 24 Feb 18;

Even as the trend of urban farming has taken root in major city centres around the world, Singapore has lagged behind in this global push.

Paris, for example, has gone big on urban farming with Mayor Anne Hidalgo setting ambitious targets last September for over 1 million sq m of rooftop gardens and planted walls by 2020 - of which a third is to be dedicated to agriculture.

The first tranche of projects will involve 32 sites across the French capital, including a 900 sq m space on the rooftop of the French Post Office building. This is expected to yield 425 tonnes of fruit and vegetables. As well, 8,000 litres of beer and 95kg of honey are expected to be produced.

But in the Garden City that is Singapore, where vertical greenery is increasingly commonplace, the authorities have acknowledged that city-based agricultural practices are still nascent.

Last November, Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said: "While there is growing interest from companies to develop edible rooftop gardens as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts, the concept of rooftop farming in Singapore is still new and limited to small-scale community-based farming."

Urban farming typically utilises high-tech systems that tap much less water, power and space than that required on traditional farms, and has been touted as an environmentally sustainable boost to food security in congested cities.

Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority is making a bigger push for commercial urban farms, which are large-scale, high-productivity and high-intensity, to boost food security. Some commercial city farms include Comcrop's 600 sq m space at *Scape in Somerset, and a rooftop farm at CapitaLand's Raffles City, with the Spa Esprit Group using the produce to make beauty products. Community farms include one atop a tower at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, and students at Singapore Management University's upcoming Prinsep Street Residences will also be able to grow their own produce.

Walter Sim

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Malaysia: Catching wild jumbos a mammoth task

The Star 25 Feb 18;

KOTA KINABALU: An operation to catch two bull pygmy elephants, while preventing another 17 from damaging the property and crops of villagers in Sabah’s central Telupid district, is proving to be a mammoth task.

Rangers from the state’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) have been chased by the animals, which have resisted efforts to push them back into the jungle.

“It is a big group of elephants – around 20 of them are wandering into small farms and plantations.

“The elephants sometimes break up into smaller groups of four to five, making it difficult for the team to control them or push them back into the forest,” WRU acting manager Diana Raminez said yesterday.

“An aggressive cow elephant, which even chased a ranger, was captured around midnight on Feb 21 and the team is now targeting two bull elephants,” said Rami­nez.

The cow elephant was translocated to the Imbak forest reserve.

The team of 10 rangers has been working round the clock to prevent the elephants from causing more damage.

Over the past month, villagers have been terrorised by several aggressive elephants.

The herd includes four calves.

The translocation cost of about RM30,000 per elephant is being funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

Among the villages affected are Kg Gambaron 1, Kg Gambaron 2, Kg Batu 4, Kg Bintang-Mas, Kg Bauto, Kg Telupid, Kg Gaab, Kg Lubang Batu and Kg Maliau.

Wildlife rangers working to resolve elephant-human conflict in Telupid
stephanie lee The Star 26 Feb 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers are a step closer towards solving the month-long elephant-human conflict in Sabah’s Telupid district with the capture of three elephants.

According to a statement issued by the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) on Monday (Feb 26), their rangers were busy trying to capture several of the elephants which have been acting aggressively towards villagers.

The rangers have so far captured three elephants, one of which is an aggressive one, and will be translocating them away from the affected areas soon.

The three - a bull, a cow (female) and a calf - are among the over 20 elephants that have been going into villages and damaging crops to search for food.

The adults have been fitted with satellite collars provided by the Danau Girang Field Centre and this will allow the Wildlife Department to tract and monitor their movements.

Meanwhile, wildlife rangers are still trying to get the herd out of the area and push them back into the forest.

The WRU is funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council and has been assisting the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) on the capture and translocation of aggressive elephants.

The SWD and WRU together with other agencies such as the Orangutan Appeal UK and Belia Gambaron will continue their operations to get the rest of the elephants out of the villages.

Elephants attack Telupid police station
HAZSYAH ABDUL RAHMAN New Straits Times 28 Feb 18;

TELUPID: The human-elephant conflict here escalated with the latest episode of a herd encroaching the district police station.

During the 9am incident yesterday, about 10 elephants including three baby elephants entered the station and chased after its personnel.

District police chief Superintendent V Shivananthan said the female elephants had acted aggressively by destroying the fence at the station.

"Before the incident, the elephants had already destroyed a portion of the they are able to come in freely.

“We were also chased by the elephants but managed to escape from them,” he said when contacted, adding no one was injured and no other properties damaged except the fence.

Shivananthan said the presence of the herd of elephants was worrying and becoming more serious.

“The elephants have been roaming around at the station almost everyday.

"Besides the station, the elephants are also present outside the hostels of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Telupid,” he said adding the police had met with the Sabah Wildlife Department officer here to discuss the issue.

"The outcome of the meeting is to create a special area behind the school and police station for the elephants,” he said, adding the area, which can be turned into eco-tourism, should also have electric fencing.

He said relevant authority should also obtain land for the elephants and gazette it.

Sabah Wildlife Dept tracks pygmy elephants with satellite collars
POLIANA RONNIE SIDOM New Straits Times 28 Feb 18;

TELUPID: Sabah Wildlife Department has fitted two Borneo pygmy elephants with satellite collars in order to monitor the movement of the herd.

The two elephants are a part of a herd of 20 found roaming around the villages here.

The department’s director Augustine Tuuga said the exercise is meant to monitor the movement of the herd.

Apart from that, the department he said, has thus far captured five elephants including a jumbo at Kampung Gambaron here.

A female elephant has also been translocated to the Imbak Forest Reserve on Monday.

“A mother and a baby elephant are being kept at an enclosure and will be sent to the Imbak Forest Reserve here today.

“Two other male elephants will also be sent to the reserve,” he said.

The New Straits Times Press previously reported villagers in six locations – Kampung Liningkung, Kampung Bauto, Kampung Gambaron, Kampung Telupid, Pekan Telupid and SMK Telupid – were facing conflict with a wild herd of elephants, which are behaving aggressively as they forage for food.

Augustine added that the department is planning to capture another five aggressive, problematic and injured elephants at Kampung Bauto here.

He added the department and wildlife rescue unit are working hard to monitor the animals’ movement to prevent further disturbances to the villagers and damages to the villages.

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Indonesian communities help government to curb ocean waste

I Made Surya Antara 24 Feb 18;

Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - Thousands of Indonesian communities across the nation have been helping the government to curb ocean waste to 70 percent by 2025, an official stated.

Deputy leader of Science and Technology Desk at the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime, Safri Burhanudin, stated here on Saturday that nearly 10 thousand communities, with 100 to 200 members in each community, are continuing to clean plastic wastes from local beaches and coastal areas.

"One of the areas which have been regularly removing plastic waste from beaches is Bali," he noted.

Bali is the most popular tourism destination in Indonesia that is famous for its beautiful beaches, but it has been affected by plastic waste and other products that have been polluting the coastal areas for years.

Indonesia has committed to reduce the amount of plastic and other waste products that pollute its water to 70 percent by 2025, as an effort to support the United Nation's new Clean Seas Campaign.

Earlier, during the 2017 World Ocean Summit in Bali, the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, announced that Indonesia had pledged up to US1 billion a year to reduce the ocean waste.

Panjaitan also proposed some measures to achieve the 70 percent reduction target by using biodegradable materials to produce environmentally friendly plastic, regulating a nationwide tax on plastic bags, as well as developing a sustained public education campaign.

The commitment was also stressed by President Joko Widodo during the G20 Summit last year in Hamburg, Germany, highlighting that Indonesia would be free from plastic waste by 2025.

In order to achieve the target, Burhanudin revealed that the ministry has been carrying out measures, such as clean beaches campaign involving communities and research, to recycle the waste.

According to the ministry`s data, Indonesia produces 5.6 million tons of plastic waste per year, comprising 3.3 million tons that can be reused as fertilizers and 1.6 million tons are recyclable wastes.

Burhanudin lauded some research conducted by University of Udayana, Bali, to recycle plastic waste as a material for asphalt.

The ministry also supports the construction of waste-to-energy power plant in Bali in 2018.
Editor: Ade P Marboen

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Indonesia Raises $1.25b in First Asian Sovereign Green Gond Sale

Jennifer Hughes, Fransiska Nangoy & Maikel Jefriando Jakarta Globe 23 Feb 18;

Hong Kong/Jakarta. Indonesia has become the first Asian country to sell "green" bonds internationally in a $1.25 billion deal as one of the world's worst greenhouse gas emitters tapped into investor interest in climate-friendly investments.

Globally, $155.5 billion of so-called green bonds were sold last year, according to the London-based Climate Bonds Initiative. But only a handful of governments have themselves sold such deals, where the proceeds are earmarked for investment in environmentally friendly projects.

Indonesia on Friday (23/02) sold $1.25 billion in five-year green Sukuk bonds -- which means the deal conforms to Islamic finance norms as well. The deal carried a coupon of 3.75 percent compared with the 4.05 percent rate that bankers initially used as guidance for investors.

Indonesia is considered one of the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, particularly due to its regular devastating forest fires blamed on clearing land for agriculture. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has committed to cut emissions by at least 29 percent by 2030 and approved a two-year extension to a moratorium on issuing new licences to use land designated as primary forest.

Indonesia has also set targets to cut the use of dirty coal in energy and aims for renewables to make up nearly one-quarter of its energy mix by 2025 from around 12 percent at present, with around 1,800 MW of wind projects targeted for completion.

But despite such commitments environmentalists say more needs to be done to meet its targets and prevent repeats of the massive forest fires in 2015, often blamed on the draining of peatland forests and land clearance for crops such as palm oil.

Documentation for the new bonds said Indonesia had confirmed no financing would go to fossil-fuel based infrastructure, nor projects involving the burning of peat. But it did warn that some projects may still include "an element of deforestation."

Global green bond issuance hit a record for the fifth consecutive year in 2017 and bankers expect further growth in the market this year.

In Asia, Chinese and Indian companies have led the way in tapping the green market to finance environmentally friendly projects but governments had until now stayed away. Worldwide, countries to have sold sizeable amounts of green bonds include Poland -- the first-ever -- and France.

Luky Alfirman, head of the Budget Financing and Risk Management office at the Ministry of Finance told reporters on Friday the proceeds from its green bonds would be used to finance projects such as renewable energy, green tourism and waste management.

The government has also said it will take up more projects to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, which requires alternative financing.

CIMB, Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, HSBC and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank were bookrunners on the deal.

Indonesia also on Friday raised $1.75 billion selling a 10-year sukuk bond at the same time as the green deal. The longer-dated paper sold with a coupon of 4.4 percent, down from initial guidance of 4.7 percent.


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